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Repo Man (1984)

Trailer
1:39 | Trailer
Young punk Otto becomes a repo man after helping to steal a car, and stumbles into a world of wackiness as a result.

Director:

Alex Cox

Writer:

Alex Cox
2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Harry Dean Stanton ... Bud
Emilio Estevez ... Otto
Tracey Walter ... Miller
Olivia Barash ... Leila
Sy Richardson ... Lite
Susan Barnes Susan Barnes ... Agent Rogersz
Fox Harris Fox Harris ... J. Frank Parnell
Tom Finnegan Tom Finnegan ... Oly
Del Zamora ... Lagarto
Eddie Velez ... Napo
Zander Schloss Zander Schloss ... Kevin
Jennifer Balgobin Jennifer Balgobin ... Debbi
Dick Rude Dick Rude ... Duke
Miguel Sandoval ... Archie (as Michael Sandoval)
Vonetta McGee ... Marlene
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Storyline

Frustrated punk rocker Otto quits his supermarket job after slugging a co-worker, and is later dumped by his girlfriend at a party. Wandering the streets in frustration, he is recruited in the repossession of a car by a repo agent. After discovering his parents have donated his college fund to a televangelist, he joins the repossession agency (Helping Hand Acceptance Corporation) as an apprentice "repo man". During his training, he is introduced into the mercenary and paranoid world of the drivers, befriended by a UFO conspiracy theorist, confronted by rival repo agents, discovers some of his one-time friends have turned to a life of crime, is lectured to near cosmic unconsciousness by the repo agency grounds worker, and finds himself entangled in a web of intrigue concerning a huge repossession bounty on a 1964 Chevy Malibu driven by a lunatic government scientist, with Top Secret cargo in the trunk. Written by Baroque <gopher_baroque@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

I do my best thinking on the bus See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Alex Cox

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

2 March 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El reclamador See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Alamos, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$95,300, 4 March 1984

Gross USA:

$129,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$129,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Edge City See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Fox Harris couldn't drive a car, a complication that led to many composite/body double shots becoming necessary. The first day he showed up to the set, he promptly proceeded to drive his car into a bridge. Subsequent scenes made him so nervous, he would break out into hives. The opening scene with the motorcycle cop on the desert highway was one such composite, made up of shots completed on different days with Alex Cox doubling Harris where necessary and Cox's bike mechanic Varnum Honey playing the cop. See more »

Goofs

Parnell passes the corner of Palmetto and Mateo three times. See more »

Quotes

Otto: Excuse me while I fold my pants.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Credits scroll down instead of up See more »

Alternate Versions

The UK video version (both Universal and CIC) misses out a section where 'Asimov' speaks to Kevin at the gas station. Instead it just cuts from him getting out of the car, to him making a rather odd sighing noise and wandering off. See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Characters with a Moral Code (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Pablo Picasso
Performed by Burning Sensations
Produced by Tim McGovern
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"This is intense."
24 April 2003 | by DeeNine-2See all my reviews

I put this eighties cult classic right up there with Blazing Saddles (1974) and Dr. Strangelove (1964) as one of the best satires ever to hit the silver screen. No exaggeration: this is one bizarre and one very funny flick. Seeing it again after almost twenty years, I gotta say, it lost nothing.

Emilio Estevez stars as Otto Maddox, a head-strong and slightly naive ex-supermarket stock clerk and sometime punk rocker. He's kicking a can down the street when up pulls Bud, "a repo man," played with a fine degeneracy by Harry Dean Stanton, who asks him if he wants to make ten bucks. (Otto's reply is memorable but not printable here.) When he learns that Bud just wants him to drive a car and not...uh, never mind, he bargains it to twenty-five bucks. When he finds out that Bud repossesses cars for the "Helping Hand Acceptance Corporation," he is sorely offended. But when he realizes how intense the life is (and how bleak his other employment opportunities), he becomes a repo man himself.

Meanwhile there's J. Frank Parnell (Fox Harris wearing a demonic grin and weird black and empty frame glasses) driving a "hot" '64 Chevy Malibu. "You don't want to look in the trunk, Officer," he tells a cop who pulls him over on a desert highway. By the way, the map under the opening credits shows the action of this film beginning somewhere on old Route 66 in New Mexico, suggesting alien mecca Roswell territory perhaps, but most of scenes were clearly shot in LA, and the desert scene just mentioned was also probably shot in California as evidenced by the Joshua Trees in the background.

What director and scriptster Alex Cox does is combine urban ghetto realism with bizarro sci-fi shtick. He adds a fine punk soundtrack including the title song from Iggy Pop with a brief appearance by the Circle Jerks, and wow are they appropriate, but you have be a punker or a 15-year-old to really visualize their moniker. The supporting players, Sy Richardson as Lite, a black cat repo ace, and Tracey Walter as Miller, a demented street philosopher, really stand out. I also liked the black girl repo person with attitude (Vonetta McGee).

The real strength of the movie, aside from probably the best performance of Estevez's career, is in the street scene hijinks, the funny and raunchy dialogue, and all those sight gags. My favorite scene has Otto coming home to find his parents smoking weed on the couch zombie-like in front of the TV listening to a Christian evangelist while he scarfs down "Food" out of a blue and white can from the refrigerator. I mean "Food" is on the label, period. The Ralphs plain wrap (remember them) are all over the sets, in the convenience store, at the supermarket, bottles of plain wrap whiskey and plain wrap "Tasteetos," plain wrap beer and plain wrap cigarettes.

Some other good shtick: the dead rat thrown in the car with the woman that doesn't accomplish its purpose; the money in the presents that Otto throws out the window busted open by the tires of another car for us to see and drool over; the "I left a book of matches" line that diverts Otto's idiot friend pumping gas; the pepper spray; Miller by the ashcan fire contemplating the disappeared from the future and "the lattice of coincidence that lays on top of everything" (trippy, man); and the punk criminal act of "Let's go get sushi and not pay." And Otto's clean pressed white dress shirt and the tie--I love the tie--as Lite tells him, "Doing my job, white boy."

See this for the authentic eighties street scenes and for my UCLA Bruin buddy (by way of Oxford) director Alex Cox who dreamed the whole thing up. Only an Englishman could really see America authentically.

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)


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